No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, Lee Hodson, Conrad Balatoni , Stuart Findlay, Steven Smith, Julien Faubert , Rory McKenzie (Kallum Higginbotham 74) Gary Dicker, Greg Kiltie (Mark O'Hara 90), Tope Obadeyi (Kris Boyd 81), Josh Magennis.
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Lee Ashcroft, Craig Slater, Adam Frizzell.
James Morrison @ Pittodrie
When your team are down near the foot of the table sometimes it seems that decisions go against you, you feel hard done to and then you also find out that Accies beat Caley Thistle!
On the train journey up to Aberdeen I noticed some real die-hard fans getting on at Stirling wearing black and white scarves... no... not the two teams playing at A*r....they were East Stirling fans headed to Arbroath for the clash between the two poorest professional clubs in the league and with the Shire having just lost 0-3 to Clyde.
I pondered how both their team and our beloved Killie would perform in the afternoon?
Looking at the teams warming up it also seemed that Stevie Smith had make a miraculous recovery from injury and, sure enough, he was back wearing the captain's armband and lead out the team in their familiar stripes. Back in August they'd worn those black strips... why ?
The pitch looked pretty awful especially the section in front of the away fans but, fortunately, it really did not affect the game - unlike a certain match official. Aberdeen did dominate the first half and probably deserved their narrow half time lead but the assistant referee (aka linesman) in front of the Killie fans did little to assist the away team.
Aberdeen's main threats have been the trickery and creativity of Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes, the surging runs of Kenny McLean and the finishing of Rooney - at least their top scorer was out injured! After seven minutes, McLean showed why he's been called up to the Scotland squad with a typical run and left foot shot which, fortunately, slammed off MacDonald's right hand post.
The Killie keeper was again called into action when, on 22 minutes, McGinn picked up a flick on from Church and surged goalwards. Somehow the purple clad stopper got his left hand to the close range shot saving the net bound shot.
The game then turned, centering around what seemed, in real time, two poor (if not shocking) decisions by the assistant referee in front of us.
Even the official Dons site reports:
"The Dons rode their luck slightly when familiar face Josh Magennis had the ball in the net as the half hour mark approached, only to be prevented by the linesman's flag. His half volley from outside the box proved he was looking to cause an upset at his former stomping ground."
Josh looked onside and I can only wonder whether TV replays will actually show what happened?
Your reporter then moved seats having listened long enough to two Killie fans constantly alleging that the Dons manager had an affinity with a lower league team from Govan. I moved almost in line with the goal line to be infuriated (again) on the 36th minute when that linesman was not up with play and didn't award Killie a corner kick when it looked like Brown didn't stop the ball crossing the goal line.
Aberdeen immediately broke forward and won a corner - from which their giant defender Ash Taylor would open the scoring from a good delivery by Robson. As the first half drew to a close I reflected that the Dons were the better side and created more chances but kept thinking... what if ?
Killie had gradually resorted (whether through tactics or panic) to hoofball up to Josh and it was not working.
So having played the Dons for 225 minutes Killie were yet to score but that changed quickly as the second half started with some excellent wing play from Greg Kiltie, a quality cross to the back post, a header from Rory McKenzie which was then nodded into the net by Josh Magennis!
Parity and with 43 minutes to score a winner... or hang on for a point.
Aberdeen were almost back in front 5 minutes later when the elusive McGinn fizzed a shot across goal cracking the crossbar. At least the woodwork was helping Killie!
The erratic assistant referee almost gifted Aberdeen a second goal as he failed to raise his flag when Graeme 'not as good as Kieran Tierney' Shinnie received the ball and was a couple of yards offside. Fortunately the Killie defence scrambled the ball away.
Julien Faubert was looking a different player from the guy who'd played against Ross County - calm and assured in possession and finding his passing game while Gary Dicker was winning balls in midfield and Stuart Findlay looked resolute in defence.
As the home fans turned restless the referee became the focus of their frustrations; the Dons were creating little and MacDonald rarely troubled.
The home side did have a half hearted penalty claim denied when Hayes went down when challenged by Hodson - that helped endear ref Anderson even more!
Hayes and McGinn continued to be the main threats and it was the former Caley Thistle player who showed dogged(!) determination in the 71st minute getting to the bye-line and cutting the ball back across the face of goal for Shay Logan to smash the ball past MacDonald. It turned out it was Logan's 100th appearance for the Dons. Aberdeen 2-1 Kilmarnock - damn.
Kiltie and Magennis were still causing real problems and Killie were unlucky moments later when Logan needed to be on red alert as Magennis got the better of Andrew Considine, played a low ball across Scott Brown's goal for the Dons right back to get the slightest touch on the ball to put it out for a corner and away from the on-rushing Obadeyi. A critical clearance, as Tope looked certain to score - honest.
McInnes then showed his tactics - replacing McGinn with Reynolds and going to a five man defence. That invited Lee Clark to introduce Boyd who was greeted like a pantomime villain by the home support.
It was really all Killie but the ball would just not fall for them. Even the official Dons report said:
"Aberdeen were made to suffer as Killie continued to commit men into the box and pile balls into the danger area. But the Dons showed the mental strength that has served them so well this season as they held on for another precious three points."
It was clear some of the Killie players were gutted at the final whistle. Perhaps we deserved more; unlike the Ross County game it did seem an official influenced the outcome of the game.
However, learning the Accies score was the worst part of the afternoon.
Oh... and spare a thought for the Shire who were gubbed 3-0 by Arbroath - they really are in the mire.
Lee Clark: I feel we wasted the first half because we played with too much fear, I had more belief in the players than they had in themselves. In the second half we played with aggression - with and without the ball - and we caused them numerous problems. We're disappointed we didn't get something from the game. I've still got 100% confidence and believe that we'll be fine and get out of the situation because in general the performance has been good. But, we need points over performances. There's been improvement without a shadow of a doubt. We've come here and took on a team who potentially could be champions in a couple of months, we've run them close and given them a real fright, especially in the second half."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission